Our Moral Compass: What Am I In Control Of?

“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own…”


In life there will be situations that arise that may present certain challenges but it is how we react to them that gives it its “power” to become a positive or negative experience. This essentially is the Stoic philosophy where self-control or self-management is at the forefront and the above quote embodies this.

Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and Seneca are three of the the philosophers that are most associated with Stoicism. Once we are more self aware of who we are, we are able to regulate our emotions, thoughts and behaviors better: self management.

What this quote means to me is that organizing our thoughts into what we can and cannot control is a crucial skillset to attain. Often times we focus on the cannot side of the house which only leads to unnecessary stress and you may feel a sense that you are losing control. We need to choose what we can control as this leads to greater self discipline and motivation towards the task at hand. By doing so we are able to plan out a clear and focused reaction to the situation at hand which can lead to more desirable conclusion.

What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards managing yourself better?

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